It is very easy to operate the camera. The Command Dial is placed on the exact right spot. The release button can be pressed easily half-way down, and doesn't jump to action at the first slight touch. From an ergonomically point of view the camera is justified. Some confusion occurred about the preciseness of the optical zoom lens of the camera. Here and there, there was talk about the Caplio GX only being able to zoom into a subject in just 4 steps. To clear things up: the Caplio GX has a very precise optical zoom lens which can be adjusted in approximately 15 steps. The camera also has a function: the so-called Step Zoom which results in a zoom range adjustable in 4 steps. This range is equivalent with 28, 35, 50 and 85mm. The camera gets its power from a pair of AA batteries or a Li-ion battery. Unfortunately I wasn't able to test the camera with a Li-ion battery so I'm describing the situation using two AA NiMH batteries. The On/Off button is placed on the back of the camera. The camera is activated in no-time at all, however when the automatic flash is switched to standard and is not fully loaded yet, the speed is reduced remarkably. The default settings turn the flash standard off. Considering the fact the flash has a bit of energy left over, the camera is ready to use in only 1.5 second. The optical zoom also reacts very quickly, from wide angle to telephoto doesn't even take 2 seconds!
The fact the zoom lens reacts quickly is fine, but the real speed is experienced using the release button. In the past we noticed a considerable interval of release, the Caplio GX gives a complete other meaning to this interval. The interval of release on the Caplio GX is only 0.12 second, incredibly rapid for a compact digital camera! At the moment of writing the Caplio GX is the fastest digital camera in the world on the subject of shutter responding time.
The wide angle lens is a welcoming feature on the camera. Little by little we see more manufactures giving more attention to the phenomenon wide angle. This is the same thing that occurred to the traditional 35mm cameras. In the past the emphasis was put on tele and more tele, but the last few years the wide angle is getting more and more important and is warmly welcomed. Ricoh has already put some of these digital cameras on the market and now introduced the new Caplio GX. A wide angle lens offers more creativity and freedom taking photos in small environments, like the sitting room, or offers an improved impression capturing a marvellous landscape. The telephoto range on the Caplio GX is limited. A range of a minimum of 100mm is desirable. It is possible to enhance the range of the camera using a converter. Ricoh offers an optional wide angle converter to enhance the range from the bottom onwards, but a telephoto converter is also possible.
The symbols used on the LCD monitors are clear and don't take up too much space. The symbols are placed neatly next to the border. The menu is well-organised and is divided by tabs. The size of the characters is large which makes the menu nicely readable.
Scrolling through the menu happens using the small arrows on the back of the camera, but if you want to go through the menu quickly you can use the small command dial in the hand grip of the camera. The arrows are still needed to be able to make a choice to change a certain setting.
The limited amount of buttons makes the camera conveniently clear. It could also be a disadvantage with relation to the use of the menu. In general we find that the times the menu is used increases as there are less buttons available on the camera. Personally I find it rather boring heaving to change the menu when I want to change for example a setting with relation to the resolution or the white balance. Ricoh offers a clever solution by placing a handy button on the camera named ADJ. This button has a few functions that will appear on the monitor if the button is pressed a few times. A very quick way of working! Beside that it is possible to enhance the pre-set functions from this button with an extra function, for example a resolution setting.
Beside an incredible quick shutter release, it doesn't cost the GX too much trouble to manage the high resolution JPEG files. A maximum of 3 files in the highest JPEG resolution (2592x1944 pixels) and the best compression, one after the other, is no problem at all. Operating the Caplio GX hardly meets with any difficulties. Only now and again the manual is needed to find the right way of operating or to find the way to a certain setting. The remaining functions and the menu are found without a problem.